Moon - Caduceus Chalice
Moribund Cult
Depressive Black Metal
6 songs (50:18)
Release year: 2011
Moribund Cult
Reviewed by Goat

The Australian Moon rather than the Polish Moon, this is a one-man act hailing from the deepest, darkest corner of Brisbane. Having done time in various local black metal acts (Catacomb, Forn Valdyrheim, Urgrund) Miasmyr seems to be an accomplished member of the scene, and this CD re-release of a 2010 limited-to-100 tape shows his skills off well. Gloomy, miserable and depressing, this is the very essence of the Xasthur-slash-Elysian Blaze canon. Ambience turns to rattling noise between intro piece In Shadow and the following Forest Samhain, choir-like keyboards fighting scratchy guitars for dominance beneath another layer of keyboards, distant howling vocals topping this structure. The production is very primitive, allowing the twisted melodies but making it difficult to tell whether drums are programmed or real, and ensuring the instruments all melt together into one nightmarish mush. Moments of clarity are revealed here and there where the keyboards manage to drag the music uphill to almost epic terrain, before loosening their grip and allowing it to collapse into the structureless mire once again.

It’s powerful, effective stuff, despite being very familiar at this stage of the genre’s development. Beneath follows, and is something like an early Drudkh demo in terms of the melodies, although from here you can easily tell that the drums are programmed. Vocals become more windswept and lost in the fog, and the track grows (I hope) deliberately repetitive, the Sisyphean croak of a man forced to repeat the same action over and over again. The only difference comes when the drums speed up and turn rattling, frantic hopeful bursts of speed soon becoming drenched in miserable slowness again.

What the album fails to do is convince you that Miasmyr has more than one idea at his disposal in each track. He starts each well, and then drives the concept into the ground as various seven-minute, ten-minute and even a nineteen-minute track make their weighty presence known. A running length of fifty minutes would be asking too much if every note was genius; sadly, this isn’t the case, although this is certainly a solid album. The haunting notes of Monastery are very effective in calling to mind ruined abbeys from demented gothic horror tales, and the rhythmic Caduceus which gives way to near-constant howling is worth a mention too – both very good tracks. Yet ultimate, real enjoyment of this rests with those who are excited by the aforementioned nineteen-minute track, the finale Chalice, which ekes out every last second with severity, holding you captive not in the relaxed, pleasant hand-holding of drone but in the tense, expectant nervous grip of a horror film, building expectations maliciously before letting you down gently. Not for those with no patience for effective keyboard ambience or for enjoying soundscapes in and of themselves with no eventual pay-off – Moon may lack the personality of Striborg or the weighty presence of Xasthur, but fans of those two will find themselves listening to Caduceus Chalice without quite knowing why.

Killing Songs :
Forest Samhain, Monastery, Caduceus
Goat quoted 74 / 100
Other albums by Moon that we have reviewed:
Moon - The Nine Gates reviewed by Jared and quoted 65 / 100
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